Archive for October, 2008

FIRST EMERGENCY MEASURE.

October 27, 2008

 

IMMEDIATE WORLD NATIONALIZATION OF FINANCE.

Money, ultimately, is trust. Money is the trust one has into the set made of trillions of contracts around the world. That trust was damaged badly when the US government let a major bank fail (Lehman). It has been unraveling ever since.

To fix the crisis, trust has to be reinstated. It has to be, otherwise, the world economy, starved of money, will crash.

We have the example of what happened to Rome. For centuries, the Roman empire thrived with a giant inter regional trade that saw as many as 10,000 great ships plying the Mare Nostrum, carrying all goods, not just wheat to the million inhabitants of the city of Rome, but even wine to Gaul.

For a number of reasons, many of them psychopathic, the Roman imperial administration took on too much military spending, and this led to various financial difficulties, including ever more diversion of economic activity towards the military, and high inflation. Trust in the socio-economico-political system collapsed. Trade inside the Roman State collapsed in turn. The great Roman cities waned and died, health care broke down, the starving population crashed, civilization nearly succumbed, libraries were burned, surviving intellectuals fled to Persia, religious terror thrived, social order broke down terminally. Germans came in to reestablish order. Commerce became local, with serfs and lords.

Lest we want to follow a similar course, it’s time to go to the basics. The first evidence we have to keep in mind is that the financial system is not a creator, just a servant (just like Rome should have kept in mind that the army was a servant, not the boss). At the limit, the financial system could be replaced by a computer. Better one good computer rather than half a million plutocrats feasting on our bones. The financial system does not create new technology, nor even new ideas. That is not its role. Yes, finance went nuts, it dreamed that it had such a role, but the financial sector was high, then, way too high, drugged on hubris with no relation to reality whatsoever!

The financial sector’s basic function, that servant’s basic service, it is supposed to render, is not even credit, it’s to see to it that trust, that is money, capital, circulates, in full trust. At this present stage (October 2008), that function is breaking down. Worldwide.

So what to do? Nationalize to the maximum, all of the financial system, right away. Now nationalizing does not mean, as the Bush administration has so far chosen to interpret it, that one makes gifts to the management and owners of the banks that caused the problem. As it is, this is what is going on, because the Treasury Secretary, Paulson, a plutocrat, gives treasure to his fellow plutocrats, but asks for nothing in return (a violation of the capitalist doctrine; but plutocracy is not about capitalism in general, it’s about a few having most of the capital, and the power).

Since when is the transfer of capital something that brings nothing to the one that it is taken from? Is not that called theft?

In Paulson’s little scheme, banks’ managements, made of his fellow plutocrats he has to socialize with, are free to get their bonuses (a straight transfer from taxpayer pockets to plutocrats, since the banks had no more capital, just prior), and shareholders are free to get their dividends (also straight from taxpayers’ pockets). According to the Guardian, bonuses could be as much as 70 billions, in the USA alone, for the culprit, and already extremely wealthy managers of the nationalized U.S. banks. The word theft is not too strong. By the way, the same outrage is expected in other places (see P/S).

Two things are very wrong here: 1) the Paulson-nationalization-as-gift is an egregious transfer of wealth from the poor ( the taxpayers) to the rich (the very rich people that caused the problem to start with); 2) the preservation of existing managements. Those managers not only caused the problem, but they know that so well among themselves that they do not trust each other at all, so banks will not transfer money from bank to bank, knowing all too well that they are headed by impudent and imprudent crooks, all over.

So what to do? Nationalization can achieve two things: 1) recapitalization: so a bank now has money, and is financially capable of satisfying its obligations, namely, it can now function. But that does not mean it will. For that it needs: 2) to throw the old managers out and stuff the banks with civil servants in the top management, and put two (say) civil servants on each bank board, with the MANDATE OF ENFORCING TRUST between the banks. This is where we are at, there is no other choice.

In a fully nationalized system, no bank can fail. So nationalize the financial system everywhere, right away. WORLDWIDE, the mandate should be imposed that NO BANK WILL FAIL, NO DEPOSIT SHALL FAIL (whatever its amount is). We are trying to bring back trust, remember? SO MANDATE TRUST.

No bank or deposit failure has to be mandated worldwide, and right away, to avoid further imbalances. Small countries that do not have the cash (i.e., trust, as we said above) should be given the cash (as Iceland was). One has to do all the banks at once, because only recapitalizing a subset of them all is, first of all, a violation of the republican equality principle, and secondly, would put at a disadvantage, or even cause runs, on banks that did not have problems (before their competitors got recapitalized, i.e., nationalized).

Credit will have to be addressed in similar ways: mandate credit at least to those who used to get it (France created a branch of government extending credit to small and medium companies, since banks are not doing their job anymore). And ibidem for the insurance industry. All these are servants of the real economy.

The failure to implement the preceding measures will lead to major economic disruption(s). What Rome did to herself in a decade or two, we would do in a year or two. At most.

At that point a major country, or more, will go fascist. Diverting huge resources towards armament programs will ensue. Nuclear world war will be next. Because dozens of countries have the know how and capability to build nuclear weapons.

It’s a civilizational choice. The next holocaust will not kill 75 millions, as W.W.II did, but several billions. From direct bombardments, and from the collapse of most basic services (water, food, energy, health care).

A fair warning.
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Patrice Ayme

P/S 1: The fascist Roman Principate could not do things well, because it did not have the wealth, competition and selection of ideas that the continuation of Roman democracy would have brought. Although it still functioned as a republic in some ways [the emperor was initially just the first man (“princeps”) in the Senate], the big time decision making was taken by a small team of natural incompetents reminiscent of the team that brought the Bush administration to war in Iraq, or the little team that has been “rescuing” the financial system by gifting to its friends. By this I precisely mean that when a general such as Septimus Severus, whatever his qualities as an imperator, a top general, took long term strategic decisions pertaining to finance and economics, he was totally out of his depth. Similarly the little team of sycophants around Bush was able to steer the gigantic USA towards a war it could not win under any plausible scheme, it was also out of its depth, due to a lack of the spirit of democracy characterized by the failure to consult and communicate with experts. In the recent case of the USA with Iraq, Bush’s little team of sycophants did not consult with people who knew enough history and human geography, and others who knew serious economics, or, a fortiori basic philosophy (which is not taught by just praying among superstitious people; basic philosophy would have shown that the basic problem was Islam, and that Islam is not won over with a gun.)  

P/S 2: In any case, under the Severan dynasty, a dynasty founded by an African general who mistrusted the plutocratic Senate (his last message to his imperial sons), military spending was boosted considerably, beyond what the empire could afford, creating chronic inflation. (The army’s size augmented by 25%, and base pay was doubled.)

Next, after the emperor Alexander Severus bought off German enemies instead of punishing them with his mighty army, he was assassinated by his troops, and the empire fell into total chaos. It was the time of the “Barracks emperors” (no jokes, please), and, just like banksters nowadays, troops needed huge enrollment bonuses (these are used presently in the US army too). The inflation only got worse and worse, to the point people lost so much trust in  the currency that it stopped being current, and started to get replaced by bartering. At this point, two average distant trading places being unable to barter physical goods directly with each other, they had to cease trading with each other. If Byzantium needed wheat from the Danube, before the collapse of the trust in currency, it would pay for it with money. After the trust in money had collapsed, Byzantium could not send anything in exchange for the wheat, because it did not have enough to barter with, that interested the peasants of the Danube (money used to interest the peasants, before, when one could exchange it against valuable stuff).

That’s why money was invented: as a universal bartering system. Hence the average pair of distant places in the empire had to stop trading, and the trading system lost most pieces of itself. As the emperors bought off the troops (with gold), 20 to 25 emperors reigned in a few years. Unsurprisingly political disorganization probably facilitated a massive, extremely lethal epidemy that weakened the empire considerably further: when it rains, it pours. 

P/S 3: Nationalization is an emergency measure, Reversion to the private sector, under tighter and more intelligent regulations will happen, once the crisis is over (the Scandinavian nationalization wave of 16 years ago is an example, but there are others, similarly successful in their return to normal).

P/S 4: Last week, a top manager at UBS (Union des Banques Suisses) was adamant that he and his colleagues, those who caused the problem, get their gigantic bonuses: ” that’s the way bankers are traditionally paid”. Never mind the poor Swiss taxpayer, and the poor Swiss underclass, asked to transfer immediately 100 billion dollars to UBS. Managers need money now, to pay for their yachts, mansions, helicopters, and fancy private schools, so their children can network…

P/S 5: Deep reforms of the financial and trading systems will have to be elaborated. Differently from the emergency nationalization, those would be permanent. Let’s just mention a few in passing: a) globalization of trade should be submitted to human environmental review and compensation (just as there are environmental impact studies, there should be human and civilizational impact studies, each time massive amounts of capital are transferred, say to install a new factory in China. The idea is NOT to limit trade, but to make governments face their responsibility to the People, and not just to the plutocracy. b) A very low speed limit for trading in securities should be enforced. Only this way would the markets be efficient, AND DEMOCRATIC. That’s all the more important, since so many people have retirement money invested in securities (and those are not secure when hedge funds are free to buy and sell them within seconds). Another trick to the same effect: put a small tax on all and any security transaction. c) reorganize the derivatives, so that they become a DAMPING mechanism, not an amplifying one, as they are now (if there was just a mortgage crisis, it would be contained, it’s the amplification of unregulated derivatives that has caused the crisis to the present extend).

TALK IS STRONG, MUTE IS WEAK.

October 24, 2008

THE TALK IS MIGHTIER THAN THE WORD. CONTRARILY TO LEGEND, TALKING IN MUNICH WAS A LETHAL TRAP, AND  HITLER FELL INTO IT. REAL MEN CONFRONT THE AYATOLLAHS BY CONTRADICTING THEM TO THEIR FACES. BY NOT TALKING TO THE FASCISTS, THE USA ACTUALLY HAS ALWAYS HELPED THEM.

For decades, the USA has refused to talk to Iran. The USA was upset that its toy had acquired a life of its own. The USA asked France, Britain and Germany to talk in its stead. Interestingly, the same trio was at Munich, having a serious disagreement, and the USA then, already, was out there, sitting it out, refusing to get involved. As it turned out, the USA waited long enough, not talking to the Nazis as a government, for the situation to rot so much that it produced a lot of delicious carrion the USA has feasted on ever since.

Now, the three big European democracies are united, and talk to Iran, trying to reason with it. And the USA  is back in the same game, of making a big show of not talking to the miscreant that causes the problem. One may only wonder if this absence of American expression  is not also because the USA wants the situation to rot again. Last time, for the Second World War, it worked pretty well, as far as the USA was concerned. But that is, of course, a very dangerous game to play, for the entire planet.

The Second World War killed more than 72 million people and would certainly not have happened, or would not have happened the way it did, if the USA had been involved in a timely manner, instead of waiting until Japan and then Hitler decided to get the USA into the war!

American strategists may believe that the USA is still an island, and that is correct. But it’s now within easy reach of enemies, and not just of a rag tag group of fanatical cave dwellers.

We will presently demonstrate why it is that the USA should join its European Allies, and talk to Iran directly, as Obama has proposed.

Some have objected that talking is a symptom of weakness, as if to be mute was a manifestation of strength… Although they wrap themselves in the robes of history to make their point, history is not about fashion, or wrapping, or warping, but about what really happened.

Opponents of talking to Iran often brandish the talks of France and Great Britain with Hitler and Mussolini in Munich in 1938 as the epitome of the pitfall of talking. Before going any further, let’s reiterate that the greatest problem with Munich was that the USA WAS NOT IN MUNICH. If Roosevelt had been talking to Hitler directly in Munich, by the side of France and Britain, things would have turned out completely differently.

For starters, the USA would have had to choose sides: Mr. Uncle Sam, do you side with democratic, republican, enlightened France as she bares her breasts and rises the old Red, White and Blue to defend humankind against the old fascist scourge? Or, Mr. Uncle Sam, do you keep on doing business with the Nazis, as your corporations and plutocrats, and Wall Street have been doing intensely ? (This sort of trading with the enemy carries to this day, since several major US corporations have been doing big business with the Ayatollahs.)

We of course do not doubt that the USA would have chosen France, to side with, because not only France is the Ally and Friend of the USA since ever, but she is also the national Parent of the USA, and its philosophical Parent, since the empire of the Franks is where Western Civilization started (and, among other Western nations, even the England of the Magna Carta and Parliament started; the Franks even started Aragon, that is Spain, and created Western Europe, as one State of Law and empire ~ 800CE). 

So, when push came to shove, the USA would have chosen its roots rather than its bloody, greedy, racist, fascist plutocrats, the ones working with Hitler, (and the descendants of whom bug us to this day while presiding to our destinies!). 

Thus comforted by Uncle Sam, France would have been ready to go to war at Munich, and Hitler would have known it. The USA may have had a tiny army (around 150,000 men, whereas the French army, with the reserves, was six (6) million), but everybody knew the USA was the top industrial and economic power in the world. Opening the floodgates of US help to France would have invited an immediate repeat of WWI, namely the capitulation of the fascist Germanoid State. 

If Hitler had seen the USA backing France (instead of backing Nazism), he would have known that France was going to attack. Then he would have backed off, losing prestige, or persisted, risking Germany. In either case, the aristocratic German and Prussian generals, already exasperated and deeply worried by the ignorant little corporal of dubious and certainly non-German pedigree, would have made a coup. The generals knew well Germany did not have a chance, and, besides, hated Hitler. (Soon they were plotting to shoot him in the face.)

Conversely, as it was, France went to Munich with a much greater force than Hitler’s, but the label of “enemy belligerent”, that Uncle Sam had perfidiously plastered on her, weighed heavily on her conscience, and undermined her determination. Fighting Nazism was one thing. Fighting the USA was not a moral option; fighting one’s progeny, France had done with England, and it lasted five bloody useless centuries, France had no desire to repeat the performance with her unruly and inexperienced child across the pond.

The fact that Britain had fully converted to the anti-Nazi cause only six months before, and had no army, and no air force, did not help much either. France remembered fighting completely alone (besides the courageous help from the tiny Belgian army) in the first crucial weeks of the First World War against the entire German army, an immense Teutonic juggernaut, massed in a multi million men monster. France was not looking forward to a repeat performance. (French dead and seriously wounded in the First World War had exceeded six million, more than 15% of the population.)

Munich has long been equated to “raising the white flag”. Such a naive, but traditional “wisdom” denotes a superficial knowledge of history, infused with enough erroneous data to reach handily completely erroneous conclusions. To believe one has “wisdom” when one has no knowledge, and one just repeats what one has heard other parrots say, that’s hubris.

True, PM Chamberlain came back and notoriously claimed:” Peace in our time”. But at the same time, Chamberlain was spending enormously on fighters and bombers, so much so that Britain was able to out-gun the Nazis in the skies, not only above England, but also above Germany herself. Meanwhile, PM Daladier, Chamberlain’s French colleague, arriving at his own airport, under thunderous applause, said: “Les pauvres, s’ils savaient!” (“Poor devils, if they only knew!”). Thus, Chamberlain and Daladier tried to make Hitler believe they were playing along, when in truth they were preparing for a world war. 

It is true that in Czechoslovakia, the Munich accords came to be known as a “dictate”, or a “betrayal” (they thoroughly violated the military defense treaty between France and Czechoslovakia). Although France had partially mobilized, it forced Czechoslovakia to surrender to Hitler its Sudetenland territory that had a majority of Germans. (Czechoslovakia sticks smack inside the core of Germany, an obvious irritation before the EU; the Sudeten Germans were expelled after WWII.)

In truth, though, Munich was an indispensable preliminary to the Second World War. If nothing else, it gave time for Britain to mass produce enough of a brand new, superior air force. (Churchill hysterically agitated to mass produce real quick an obsolete air force; wisely, Chamberlain held off for the most advanced technology.)

But Munich did even more. It provided the two large democracies with the Casus Belli they needed. They knew the war would kill millions, and put the survival of democracy in play. The French and British politicians came from the best schools, they had studied their history. They knew that Spartan, Persian and Macedonian fascisms had destroyed Greek democracy durably, and that democracy has stayed destroyed for 22 centuries. They knew the risks. Their hearts were heavy. But first, they had to occupy the highest moral ground possible. They knew the texts, they knew the history. They knew Athens had failed to occupy the highest moral ground in a timely manner when confronting Sparta, and that led to the catastrophe. They were determined to not repeat that mistake. They wanted their moral position to be unassailable. (Besides, the Franco-British leaders needed time to gather an unbeatable mechanical force. As it was, with an enormous quantity of bad luck, betrayal, and a plethora of unfathomable mistakes by the French Haut Commandement Militaire, they barely made it. If they had come up a few squadrons of Spitfires short, it would have been curtains.)

When at war, democracies, to stay in one solid piece, have to release the full power of the People, in agreement with itself (that’s what the Roman fascii symbolize).  That means the war has to be perceived as completely just by the People. And that means a good reason for having war. The Romans, under the republic, called that a “Casus Belli”, and paid careful attention to having one always, before going to war. The reason that France and Britain were able to declare war to Hitler while occupying the high moral ground, was precisely because they had talked to him first. They put him in a conceptual cage, and robbed him of all and any moral advantage, real or imagined, for all to see, including the increasingly shocked German population, that saw its beloved Reich turn into an abyss in search of a cataclysm.

For years prior, Hitler had been good at dividing his opponents. In 1934, he made a pact with Poland, and one with Britain in 1935 (which violated the Versailles Treaty). By 1937 the business opportunities presented by Hitler and his monster Reich had incited the USA to pass laws dealing with the democratic French republic as if it were an enemy belligerent of some sort (because France was exhibiting no obvious signs of affection towards Hitler, contrarily to the USA, and viewed anti French American maneuvers as one more attempt by Hitler to surround France; in 1939, France found herself de facto at war with the Nazis and their two main allies, that were feeding them with oil and weapon systems, the USSR, and the USA; that was a bit much, even for the French).

As France and Britain talked to Hitler in Munich, they consolidated the British conversion to an alliance with France against Hitler. The talks also forced Hitler to formally engage himself to some agreements. At this point, Hitler was stuck, it was the end of his malevolent dance. Either he respected the accords, and he lost prestige, and that is grave in a regime that rests on terror. Or then he violated the accords, for the whole world to see, and Britain and France had their Casus Belli. Whereas most of the German establishment was satisfied by the Munich agreement, Hitler saw that he had been entrapped, and he was furious.

As it was, Poland, observing that Britain was following France, taking a firm stance, got encouraged to make a formal military assistance treaty with the French republic, and Britain was in the fine print in the appendix.

Next, of course, Hitler, observing that he was in the process of being surrounded by France and Poland, while Britain was scrambling to build a modern air force, had to strike. So he attacked Poland, after rushing a love pact with his pal Stalin. Britain and France declared war, 45 French divisions attacked the Siegfried Line (“Westwall”), and while Poland fought to death, American capitalists of the Wall Street type, rushed anti-knock additives Hitler desperately needed for his air force. But I digress.

The point is this: Hitler was entrapped by talk. No talk, no entrapment. If one had kept ignoring Hitler, as the US government was doing, Hitler would have got his world war when he wanted, when he was going to be ready, in 1945, with huge quantities of new, terrific weapons that were on the Nazi drawing boards. In 1939, Hitler was not ready, not at all. 

There is force in speech, power in thought. Before acting, think, and then talk.

If nobody had talked to Hitler, the survivors would be living under the Great Nazi World Reich. Only those who have no brains, and no morals, fear speech. Winking at destiny may satisfy a professional seductress, but does not make for a better world. Only expression can bend destiny, and, in humans, that starts with speech.

So indeed, seen from the purely military point of view, the USA should talk to Iran. The worst that can happen is that the USA learn to sort out its thoughts.
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Patrice Ayme

Patriceayme.com
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P/S 1: In 1940, the Nazis were nearly powerless against heavy French or British tanks. In the two tank battles that were fought in 1940, one against the British, one against the French, the legendary Panzers were severely defeated. Many of the Nazis weapons systems were of foreign origin (USA), and obsolete relative to what the Nazis had in mind. Those systems had to be mass produced in 1939-40 to address the problem posed by 100 French divisions and 3,000 French tanks.

P/S 2: In 1953, the CIA used Muslim Shiite fundamentalists it had organized, excited and financed, to throw out the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister. Mossadegh. Mossadegh wanted to keep more oil revenues inside Iran, to the great anger of Anglo-Saxon oil men.  Thus, if somebody should be really upset, it should rather be the Iranians.

P/S 3: So, in 1953, the U.S. secret services cooperated with the Shiites. Nowadays, not talking to the Ayatollahs has been most useful to them. Are the USA still secretly allied to them? In Munich, the non presence of the USA made possible the on going march of Nazi Germany to war, and it discouraged the German generals from making a coup against Hitler (they were ready, and they would, six years later). Thus in Munich, it looked as if U.S. diplomacy had decided war was in the best interest of the USA. And so it, indeed, was (W.W.II made the USA into the super power). Thus the question: was the refusal of the USA to talk with Iran, a way to make the situation with Iran worse? 

P/S 4: So should Britain and France have made an agreement with Hitler at Munich? None of what we wrote above really answers this question. Militarily, Great Britain was not ready. France was ready enough, and Czechoslovakia was very ready behind its Sudeten fortifications. Hitler was not ready at all. There is no doubt that a grand coalition of France, Britain and Czechoslovakia (especially if Poland had joined) would have defeated the Nazis. The problem was not military, it was philosophical. And then what next? Dealing with a resentful Germany preparing round four with France? It was better to make sure the Nazis would capture the most hellish ground first.

Ironically, when Hitler attacked France with 2,000 tanks, about half of them were Czech (since Hitler had occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in the meantime). Facing them were 3,000 French tanks, some so heavy the Germans could not destroy them. 

P/S 5: The fact remains that the Sudeten Germans really existed, and they did not like to be in Czechoslovakia. That would have made it quite a bit self contradictory for Britain and France to go to war to impose the violation of the right of self determination. 

P/S 6: As it was the USA provided no help to France whatsoever, in 1939-1940. Not even one single bullet, but the USA rushed in a formal recognizance of the illegal, unconstitutional Vichy collaborationist organization as the legitimate French government, which it was not. That was part of a multi year, long term effort, strangely similar to Hitler’s, to finish France as an independent country; Roosevelt actually prepared the occupation of France in 1944, but, basically, the armies prevented him to do so. The French army was reconstituted by 1944, and many US military men esteemed and befriended their French colleagues. The strident, and eerily accurate warnings of President Eisenhower about the “military-industrial complex are worthy of the best vehement Left Bank French intellectuals. Maybe Ike talked too much to the French during the war…

NEW TRADE THEORY’S VERY DARK SIDE.

October 19, 2008

WHERE NOBEL PRIZE WINNER PAUL KRUGMAN, IN HIS OWN WORDS, TELLS US WHAT WENT WRONG WITH “NEW TRADE THEORY”.
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Abstract: The world financial system was highly leveraged, in hidden and mysterious ways, to serve the plutocracy. World finance was designed to provide so much profits to those who had conceived it, that it crashed. Can it get worse? Yes, because the entire world economy has been designed along similar lines, deliberately ignoring the intended consequence of maximizing the plutocracy.

The financial system allows the flow of property value, the economic system creates goods and services to which those values are attached. It turns out that the same Cosa Nostra that brought us flawed finance conceived the world economic system. The flawed world economics of “Globalization” rests on UNWARRANTED CONCLUSIONS FROM “NEW TRADE THEORY”, the greatest conclusion of which says that your job should go to China (dissidents shall be shot).

That interpretation of “New Trade Theory” we hear below from the horse’s mouth. 

We suggest it’s high time for a rethink: save the math, change the philosophy and deeply reorganize the thinking around globalization. It’s not enough to be for “free trade”, one should be for freedom in general, and that means power to the people, because there is no freedom without power. Hence people should have jobs as good as those they used to have. Reorganizing it does not mean that globalization should stop. Not at all. Globalization is good, and, well done, it is the best defense against World War.

Conversely, if GLOBALIZATION IS BADLY DONE, IT IS HIGHLY CONDUCIVE TO WORLD WAR. We are speaking from experience: it happened twice before. That is where we stand now: bad globalization. The next few months are crucial to reset not just finance, but the world economy, and that means sending the profits to the People rather than exclusively to organized crime and plutocracy. Otherwise, the usual program of mental devolution towards nationalism, fascism and idiocy will lead irresistibly to World War. Again. So here is the choice: big hard, new thinking now, or a holocaust tomorrow. It is high time for “liberals” and their “consciences” to understand this.
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USING THE IVORY TOWER TO MISLEAD THE WORLD:

Socrates warned us against “sophists”, the professionals who (for base reasons) sold (biased) knowledge to the rich (for unsavory applications). As most may have noticed by now, the world financial system was flawed, it was a sham. Who built it up? Sophists (such as Mr. Scholes, see P/S). How was it bad? Because it allowed and encouraged the rise of a world plutocracy (initially led and based in the USA), a malignancy that grew liberally because the immune system of strict laws and regulations had been GLOBALLY suppressed. Most of the money went to a few people, and they ended up with so much power that they disintegrated finance, and now the economy, worldwide, while insuring through their pernicious intellectual influence that no one would understand their empire.

Although immensely rich, those worthies requested more money for themselves, so they would let the world economy live. They held the planet hostage. They whined: “Bro, we are getting stressed, we did some bad bets, do you have another 700 billions for us?” Because the greedy U.S. Congress is wrapped around their little fingers, they got their money. We did not see them giving back last year’s 100 billion Dollars in bonuses (that was just on Wall Street, and there are many other financial centers). In Europe, the “rescue” bill amounts so far to several trillions (1,700 billions from the Eurogroup alone; both it and Britain are nationalizing fiercely, though, and that means the goons are losing control).

Now to quote from the well respected British newspaper, the Guardian:

“Financial workers at Wall Street’s top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year – despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism.” (Oct 17, 2008).

How did the rich become so rich as to roll over all of democracy, all over the world? They hid behind intellectuals on their payroll (the most prestigious U.S. universities are part of, and partial to, the high power money system). It was (erroneously, one could even say criminally) argued by academic scholars that IT DID NOT MATTER WHERE ECONOMIC PRODUCTION OCCURRED (as long as it occurred). Paul Krugman explains this clearly in his own words below. That intellectual principle was already presiding to the world’s destiny by the age of Clinton.

The emotional surrendering to such a ludicrous idea, that IT DID NOT MATTER WHERE ECONOMIC PRODUCTION OCCURRED, constituted the emotional ground for even more offensive and ludicrous ideas and their immediate generalizations, which all together, led to a world economic and financial system that was made to profit only a few. (The undoing of that con job is that it got to the point people revolted, and refused to pay their mortgages.)

Breaking one’s previous emotional set up has a huge impact on one’s logical system, and since it is much more difficult to change the emotional system, shattering changes in emotionality have very long term influences on the logic. A good enormous act is often all it takes to break the old emotional organization one has inside one’s mind (that’s why many murderous organizations require, as part of their initiations, to take part, say, in a murder). We are unveiling here such an emotional enormity. This time it’s just an idea. And that idea, that shatterer of worlds, is: “IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO GETS THE FACTORIES”. Although such a change of paradigm is here purely in the realm of thought, it has tremendous emotional consequences of the most practical type.
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KRUGMAN’S “NEW TRADE THEORY”, ACCORDING TO KRUGMAN HIMSELF:

Paul Krugman just got the Nobel Prize in economics. Krugman, the modestly self described “conscience of a liberal”, works at the New York Times and Princeton University. He got the prize for the “NEW TRADE THEORY”. We are going to point out where and how THE “NEW TRADE THEORY” LENT ITSELF TO ASPECTS OF GLOBALIZATION THAT MANY FIND INAPPROPRIATE.

Made to understand Franco-German trade (which, frankly is none of America’s business), it was applied to the trade between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, which is of a completely different nature. Whereas Franco-German trade is among friends, trade with China is more reminiscent of the activity at a croc farm.

New Trade theory was applied in a deeply erroneous way on a PHILOSOPHICAL level. Eco-nomy means house-management. Top Athenian philosophers named and created the field as an object of theory. It is intrinsically philosophical, mathematics is secondary. Mathematics, in particular should not be allowed to overwhelm common sense. In the presently disintegrating world finance and economy, it has.

Let’s quote Mr. Krugman extensively, in all fairness, about why he got the Nobel Prize (from his blog, Oct. 15, 2008):

“Really, I don’t want to talk about me when the world is melting down, but I have had a number of requests for an informal explanation of what I got you-know-what for. So here’s an attempt.

It’s really about two related things: the “new trade theory” and the “new economic geography.”

OK, so what was the “old” trade theory? It’s what you probably learned if you took intro economics. Countries are different – they have different levels of productivity in particular industries, they have different resources, and those differences drive trade. Tropical countries grow and export bananas, temperate countries grow and export wheat. Countries with highly educated workers export high-tech goods, countries with less educated workers export shirts and pajamas.

The new trade theory starts with the observation that while this explains a lot of world trade, it also misses a lot. France and Germany sell lots of stuff to each other, even though they have similar climates and resources; so do the United States and Canada. What’s that about?

The answer is that there are many goods that aren’t like wheat or bananas, but are instead like wide-bodied jet aircraft. There are only a few places in which wide-bodied jets are produced, because of the enormous economies of scale – you only want a couple of factories worldwide. Those factories have to be somewhere, and those countries that get the factories export jets, while everyone else imports them.

BUT WHO GETS the aircraft factories, or the factory producing a specialized kind of machine tool, or the plant producing a particular model of car that selected consumers all over the world want? THE ANSWER OF NEW TRADE THEORY – and it was A TREMENDOUSLY LIBERATING ANSWER – IS THAT DOESN’T MATTER. There are many economies-of-scale goods; everyone gets some of them; and THE DETAILS, WHICH MAY BE LARGELY A STORY OF HISTORICAL ACCIDENT, AREN’T IMPORTANT.

What matters, instead, is the overall pattern of trade: the broad pattern of what countries produce is determined by things like resources and climate, but there’s a lot of additional specialization due to economies of scale, and there’s much more trade, especially between similar countries, than you would expect from a purely resource-based theory.

You may think all this is obvious, and it is – now. But it was totally not obvious before 1980 or so – except for some prescient quotes from Paul Samuelson, you really can’t find anyone describing trade this way until after the theory had been laid out in mathematical models. The plain English version came later.

And you should bear in mind that economists have been thinking and writing about international trade for a couple of centuries; to come along and say, “Hey, we’ve been missing half the story” was a pretty big thing.”
***

AND NOW THAT WE ARE MISSING HALF OF THE ECONOMY, IT’S AN EVEN BIGGER THING, ASSUREDLY UGLIER:

Did you notice what the all caps sentences meant? In Krugman’s liberal vision of the world it is “TREMENDOUSLY LIBERATING” that it “DOES NOT MATTER… WHO GETS THE FACTORIES. A first consequence of “New Trade Theory” is that U.S. factories got exported to China. This, of course, meant the end of America as a place of civilization. Just an unimportant detail of history.

For you, Mr. Buffet, a factory to manage in China, for you, Ms. Average American, you don’t get a factory in the USA, because it has gone to China. Instead, you get the lowest job that can be imagined. It does not matter, it’s tremendously liberating for those who get factories to China. And even for you, if you set your mind to it. No health care, no retirement, no house: you are “tremendously liberated”. But a job, always, you can get. Any job is a good job, as Reagan pointed out brilliantly, and he cracked the whip, and put thousands of air controllers in legs of iron, and exhibited them, weighted with chains, because they had gone on strike!

It is just a question of deregulating enough, said the American slave masters, and jobs there will be. Pushed just a bit further, hunting rats, and selling their meat, should be deregulated. Maybe that will be the last job left in the USA, after all other jobs have migrated to China. Rats are delicious, and one can bathe at the same time in the sewers. Tremendously liberated you will be, Ms. Average American rat chaser, with your new job! Go do your job, it does not matter where it is located, or what it is, says New Trade Theory.

Since you can’t swim to a factory in China, you may as well hunt rats, and what do you have against sewers anyway? Everybody needs sewers. Leave us academics, with our specialization in lofty thoughts, around our groomed campuses. To you the sewers, to us the Ivory Tower. It does not matter, says New Trade Theory. Get Zen. Watch the Dalai Lama, and take heed, be lame and proud. Tremendously liberating.

Why? According to Professor Krugman, ” … details, which may be largely a story of historical accident, aren’t important.” It’s a detail of history that your unimportant job went to China. What is it in this that you don’t get?

Some years ago, a politician heading the French extreme right was prosecuted (under the French holocaust denial law) for claiming publicly that “the gas chambers were just a detail of the history of the Second World War”. Unfortunate juxtaposition. Here we have something analogous, but with the roots of war, rather than its consequences. Major economic dislocations, worldwide, are presented as details of unimportant historical accidents. History begs to disagree: economic dislocation has always been one of the source of the greatest wars. Moreover dislocation increases in turn fear and aggression, two other major sources of war. We are dealing with bad stuff here, in the fullness of time. Moaning about holocausts is good, preventing future ones is much more moral, and wiser.
***

IT MATTERS WHERE THE FACTORIES ARE, SAYS THE PLUTOCRACY:

As far as the plutocracy was concerned, the devil was in the details, they were important. So was history. Historically, plutocracy, the natural enemy of democracy, got restrained by regulation and taxation, and that was painful. Factories were exported to China because U.S. and E.U. regulations are not respected in China, and Chinese workers, paid a tiny fraction, cost much less. So exporting the factories to China allowed the plutocracy to make like bandits (China as a country makes only a small profit, relatively speaking, most of the profit goes to the international plutocracy).

The exportation of U.S. jobs overseas got so grotesque that Boeing, with the rest of aerospace, long the most important pillar of the U.S. economy, is now forced (and incapable) to build its next plane using contractors, worldwide. Boeing used to have thousands of sub contractors, all located in the USA, doing maximally added value work. But no more.

No doubt that some foreign companies have some products superior to any found in the USA, justifying legitimate trade. So Boeing should trade with them. French companies such as Dassault Systemes (which provides the Computer Assisted Design of the 787) and Thales (a giant military electronic company) no doubt make superior products second to none, and Boeing should, and does, use them, very correctly so.

But when MOST OF the plane is built overseas, as it is, obviously what is going on is that Boeing management has decided to escape “high cost” in the USA, and delocalize itself worldwide. American workers are not needed, as far as unregulated Wall Street manipulators are concerned, they just eat profit margins.

Instead they should go eat rats in the forest. Next, of course, the last American engineer will not be needed either. That maybe fine, as long as it is fine to turn the USA back to a jungle with religiously fundamentalist natives chanting in the forests, hunting moose. One could always export American religious fundamentalism, as Saudi Arabia does. Someday the Chinese will be so much richer than the Americans that it will be worthy to employ Americans again. The wheel of fortune would have turned. (But of course the whole decay process will not be tolerated by the affected populations, and fascism and war will not let the wheel of fortune pleasantly roll all over everybody! It’s going to get much more conflictual. )
***  

IN DEFENSE OF TRADE:

We are not on a rampage against trade here, far from it. Just, like evil, trade is in need of some restraint. Before people make a theory of the free market, they have to define what’s going to be in the market to start with, and what is fair. The only market that should have no restraint is the market of ideas. Selling hominids’ meat on the market, or trying to export the entire economy to China are bad ideas. Globalization is a good idea, pauperization is not. Plutocracy is a terrible idea, democracy, the source of all ideas.

We have detailed descriptions of trade in Australia over gigantic distances at least 40,000 years ago (archeology is easier in Australia because of its dry climate and no glaciations). Prehistoric men, before the discovery of metals, used stones for tools and especially weapons. And that for millions of years. Not all places have all stones, though. Weapons required special stones (flint, obsidian, dense crystals) that sometimes could only come from thousands of miles away. So trade came to be, and has existed probably for millions of years. The Economy Nobel Prize often describes long established practices (but when the Nobel Prize got to be used to justify ill-constructed financial derivatives, it helped engineer world society into a plutocratic instrument.)

Crete, the first thalassocracy, mistress of Mediterranean trade, became the most advanced civilization. In Greco-Roman times international trade got enormously developed (thousands of large ships sailed around at any given moment for centuries), even food and wine were massively transported.

Theoretical economists pointed out that any given place should be better capable of producing some peculiar good, or service, and thus should be able to trade it. That was called the “comparative advantage” as found in Ricardo’s “Old Trade Theory”. But then a country such as France produces all goods and all services that Germany produces, and still they trade ever more, although the only thing they do not have much of, oil, neither of them produces. 
***

HISTORY SAYS MORE ABOUT FRANCO-GERMAN INTEGRATION THAN THE NEW TRADE THEORY DOES:

Conventional economists, lost in their silly American Ivory Tower were unable to understand why 52% of Germany’s exports to France are things France also produces and exports to Germany. In something called the Dixit-Stiglitz model, subtly differentiated firms compete for variety-loving consumers. Equivalently, American economists could have lived in France and Germany, gone shopping, and learned the history.

A detailed analysis explains what is going on. Basically, France and Germany integrated together form a bigger market, allowing bigger economies of scale while boosting variety: if there is no drain on fundamental resources, the more one produces of a good, the cheaper it gets. Overall, Franco-German integration has doubled the number of equally finished products French and German consumers have at their disposal. Any shopper can understand that, no need for math.

Example of Franco-German integration: cars. Germany tends to produce luxury gas guzzlers, France cheaper, most efficient cars. So, sometimes, the most sold car model in Germany was a French car. Reciprocally uppity French with spare cash love a good BMW, Porsche, Mercedes or Audi. Careful consideration of the different models show that some Germans will import Renaults, Peugeots or Citroens, even as the French import Volkswagens (the car companies themselves make models accordingly, targeting them carefully). That is what NTT is all about. It is full of rigorous equations, but the real economy is a giant subject, and a lot of it is not reducible to equations. It’s just elementary psychology monkeys have long figured out, without getting confused by equations and irrelevant graphs.

The Franco-German economic trading case is not grounded by equations, and not by the NTT. For many decades Franco-German trade has been dominated by conscious political decisions, by the Franco-German will to power, hence by the will to Franco-German unification. To a great extent it started when Hitler, who wanted to eradicate France, was forced by his Nazi subordinates to treat her not too harshly, because he was told that otherwise he would surely lose the war, because German production was clearly not enough to win. An enraged, confused, self contradicting Hitler was forced to allow French products to be sold in Germany as the bulk of German production became military.
***

HERE IS A RADICALLY NEW TRADE THEORY; CIVILIZATION AS PRODUCT:

After the Nazis lost, it was agreed by France and Germany that this sort of fascist, mass murdering demented circus should not happen again, so the steel and coal French and German industries were immediately integrated. This was a success, and further Franco-German integration has proceeded to this day (after lurching around during the first weeks of the world credit crisis, because an electoral defeat led her to strike national poses, Kanzler Merkel quickly resumed her usual tight cooperation with President Sarkozy, and she adopted the same measures). Now France and Germany are attenuated nation-states inside a supra national Union. The EXISTENCE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, per se, SHOULD BE VIEWED AS AN ULTIMATE GOOD THAT NEEDS TO BE PRODUCED. This new product, the European Union, is strong magic to prevent intra European war and suffering. That is what that product does: it cures all wars. Can it be traded? Sure. The European model of society can be exported. But I am digressing, let’s go back to our friends, the plutocrats, their brainy servants, and their global plot.
*** 

AMERICAN NOBEL PRIZE ECONOMICS, OR THE WORLD AS JURASSIC PARK:

Sometimes, when they explain trade, economists explain what man practiced long ago. But sometimes their role is much less innocuous, because they excuse with their long winded, obscure rationalizations in academic journals what is obviously condemnable, and should NOT be tolerated. The economy (hence society) of the planet has been organized in recent decades according to the ideas of some autistic, but influential American economists, many of them from the University of Chicago, many of them Nobel Prizes winners.

These distinguished professors tried to demonstrate that a WORLDWIDE JURASSIC PARK WAS BEST: THOSE WHO DON’T GET EATEN GET STRONGER. As the debris sink down the ocean, the bottom feeders profit too. (Some of these Economy Nobel Prizes protested against the system, true, but just enough to make the Nobel Prize system look good, fair and balanced, so, instead of looking like the growling wolf it is, it looks like a bleating sheep, and the people think it is a friend. Still we are thankful for the protest of Sen, Stiglitz, Krugman, among others.)

Of course, mathematical economists will point out that the equations of New Trade Theory are right, and that right is right. So are the equations of a car crash. They are right. But it’s still a car crash. So are the equations of a bubble, but it’s still a bubble. The equations of a bubble are way more complicated than that of the New Trade Theory, but that does not make them way more right. An equation may be right, but that does not mean that a philosophy grafted onto it is right. The philosophy of the New Trade Theory was that of the globalization of profits, and the subjugation, or extinction of the locals.

Trade between the USA and China is not like trade between France and Germany. France and Germany were founded as the same country, 15 centuries ago, they are basically two regions of an even much older polity, equal and identical in nearly every respect (especially now that Germany has been democratic for two generations).
***

NOT ROME ALL OVER AGAIN, PLEASE:
The right to work should be enshrined in the Constitution.

In Rome, the plutocracy used the trick of distributing gold, bread and games to the population, so that the inhabitants of what was the most populous city on earth, with a five hundred years old republican tradition got used to do nothing, and be thankful for it.

The interest for the Roman plutocracy was that the POPULUS kept quiet, and forgot to make a revolution to reestablish the republic in a timely manner. Like a boa slowly constricting its prey, basic rights were removed from the Romans, AS THE PLUTOCRACY DELOCALIZED POWER OUT OF ROME. For the Roman plutocrats it did not matter where the factories were, as long as they were NOT in the City of Rome. Finally Constantinople was made capital. 

All this carries over to the present day, on a more global scale. Power is removed out of the USA by the American plutocracy, as its army roams the world. OK, the capital has not been moved to Shanghai yet.
***

Conclusion: OFF WITH THEIR IDEAS!

Krugman finds the New Trade Theory “tremendously liberating”, but it’s mostly plutocracy that has been liberated. Thanks to a perverse interpretation of New Trade Theory, in which Paul Krugman himself apparently believes, the world economy was organized so as to allow the growth of a worldwide, unregulated ownership system by the few and the hidden (not to say hideous!). With the enthusiastic cooperation of U.S. universities and government, U.S. plutocracy pushed that theory onto the world, as an imperial and leveraging invasion device.

The basics of “New Trade theory” are not wrong (instead, they are mostly obvious). What is wrong is the way Krugman expressed himself above. Now, it’s more than a typo, more than a lapsus, more than a Freudian slip. It has become a policy. And if Krugman himself celebrates it, one can expect the political servants of the plutocracy to do much more. Thus besides asking politely Professor Krugman to reconsider his dreadful conclusions, one should seriously reconvene to have the WORLD reconsider where to put the big industrial centers. It should be the object of careful negotiations. Industrial policy should not restrict its worries to the number of Iranian centrifuges. Defense is not just about that.

The guiding principle of correct globalization should not be that people get an equal opportunity to do whatever anywhere. Because it is impossible to do this; the failure of the USSR, or Cuba, or other command economies, was in part caused by trying to make everything themselves, and that means they could not do anything well. Besides, of course, they were dictatorships, but notice that plutocracy is also dictatorship, and that Stalin, besides being a mass murderer (he had excuses), could be viewed as the world’s biggest, nastiest plutocrat.

The guiding principle of correct globalization should be that (average) individuals get the opportunity to improve their living conditions. Everywhere. That has been clearly violated by plutocratic globalization we have now.

Two generations ago, all US citizens got the opportunity for the best education, and the best jobs, worldwide (OK, that was violated for minorities, but this is mostly another story). Globalization deprived most US citizens of access to the best education and best jobs. True, Harvard is still here, attending to the rich, but the primary and secondary education systems are shells of their former selves. True, there has been golden boys on Wall Street, racking most of the money, but the median US citizen is increasingly impoverished. Some will say: who cares? Well, it will end up with stress, fear, anger, fascism, and world war, and then everybody will care. Alternatively, one can decide to care now, and think a way out.
***
Patrice Ayme,

Tyranosopher.
***

P/S: Even at this late hour, a Nobel such as Scholes comes out to defend the total deregulation of derivatives (the technical core of what caused the credit crisis). He is the co-inventor of an equation that serves as justification to price some derivatives. The funny (sort of) part is that the ENTIRE MATHEMATICS OF DERIVATIVES IS FALSE. Or then, if it is right, it is right the way Nazi genetics was right (namely right for a few profiteers). This is not an exaggerated comparison: a world war now may kill billions of people, and would be an inescapable derivative from unrestricted derivatives’ trading. Financial manipulators, by playing with the world economy in the giant casino they built for themselves, have been playing with the future of humankind. This year they caused worldwide famine (by transforming food into fuel they speculate on) and a crash. Our patience should have run out by now.

THE ROOT OF THE CRISIS: THAT ROMAN STYLE PLUTOCRACY IN THE USA, FROM NAZISM TO BUSHMEN.

October 12, 2008

AMERICAN PLUTOCRACY HAS LED AMERICA, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, BY THE NOSE, FOR NEARLY A CENTURY. ONE CONSEQUENCE? NAZISM. AND NOW, TEN DISASTERS AND A FEW HOLOCAUSTS LATER, THE CREDIT CRISIS. EXPOSING THE “HIDDEN HAND” FOR WHAT IT IS. 

Abstract: After they got away with instigating and supporting Nazism, elements of the US plutocracy, and the mentality to go with them, kept on rolling all over the world, to their great satisfaction and that of the average uneducated American citizen. But now some of what the USA sent around, is coming around America herself, and some dismay lays over the land.

The credit crisis is just the latest feat of American plutocracy. But this time it may have gone a few big lies too far. Before that, one can argue that other American plutocratic feats in the last century were the Great Depression, inciting and ignoring the Holocaust, giving half of Europe to Stalin, using Nazism to conquer the world, exciting Muslim Fundamentalists to keep oil producing countries divided, etc…. All of them were diligently swallowed by the gullible public, and not just in the USA.

The analogy between American decay with how the Roman republic declined and fell are drastic, because there is one unique cause to the decay, and it’s the same that afflicted Rome. Plutocracy running amok.

Our analysis differs from Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of Rome”, because we look earlier, six centuries earlier, when the Res Publica started its decline and fall. (Whereas one can easily argue that the Roman empire never really fell, since it was legally extended by the Franks, and their successors in all ways, there is no doubt that the principle of the Res Publica definitively faded away for about a millennium.) As a good imperialist, Gibbon viewed the Roman empire at its peak as an achievement, whereas we view it as fascist, degenerate, and, first of all, stupid. For us the decline and fall was before Augustus’ birth. 

OK, the Roman Republic was not as Machiavellian as the USA has been, and still she conquered the world. Maybe that was the reasoning of the US far right: no need for too much subtlety,as they oriented the American Republic towards supremacy.

But the case of Rome and that of the USA will have different outcomes. Indeed, whereas Rome was one of a kind, the opposition to the modern would-be Rome is vast, from peers that are very aware of what happened then, when the Roman republic fell, and when Hitler rose, and of what has been happening recently (Iraq, etc.).

It is clearly wiser for the USA to give up and join the world as a friend, not just an exploiter. That should start with a serious credit and derivatives crisis rescue plan.
***

HYPER RICH AMERICAN DEGENERATES ARE STILL FIGHTING COMMON SENSE:

Under enormous pressure from France and Britain, and other Europeans, the US “Treasury Secretary”, Hank Paulson, finally agreed, weeks too late, to nationalize US banks. (I explained weeks ago that nationalizations, aka “treasury equity injections” constituted the most efficient way to use taxpayers’ money to stop the credit crisis.) Nevertheless, under the pressure of bank managers, Paulson intends to leave the injections of capital as unintrusive as possible, and to acquire only non voting shares. This means that Paulson will make it so that bad management and bad owners unworthy of the public trust will stay in place, and reap the profits from public money. In the worst possible case, if they really have to go, that would be with all the golden parachutes, Paulson reassured them. It’s all nice and cuddly, up there in the plutocracy.

Trust in the WORLD financial system collapsed when the US government let Lehman Brothers disappear. That was a huge bank, and a crucial intermediate in the US bond market. By this inconsiderate decision, the US government reached instantaneously the disastrous psychological stage, several years into the Great Depression, when banks stopped trusting banks, and so the credit system disappeared, shutting down the entire financial system.

So much about learning from history. Dr, Bernanke, who wrote his PhD thesis on the Great Depression, seems not to have understood one of its main lessons: the government should not allow bank failures, nor the failure of any of their main functions. 

Bank failures of a similar size threatened to occur in the Benelux, Ireland, Britain, Germany, and Iceland. Each time, the national governments stepped in, and saved all and any of the many banks that were threatened. By “saving” one means that the banks kept on going as an institution, doing their essential business, with most of their personnel, but under the watchful eye of the state.

Top managements, were of course thrown out of the ailing European banks, since they were the ones who wrecked their banks. It’s not enough to stop the fire, you have to remove the arsonists. (In the case of tiny Iceland, which is not an EU member, Russia’s huge cash reserves came to the rescue.) Let’s insist on that point: since International Law, and US law, require that banks have 8% of the capital they lend, bank managements that end with 0% of capital are in violation of the law. Which kind of regime leaves outlaws in charge and managing banks? 

The principles of the financial system rescue promoted by the French presidency (of France and the EU), and increasingly accepted by all other Europeans are: 1) NO BANK WILL BE ALLOWED TO FAIL. (That means they will be nationalized on an emergency basis, before being bought, sliced and merged privately.) 2) NO BANK DEPOSIT OR CASH FUND WILL BE ALLOWED TO FAIL. Whatever the amount deposited. Both measures will limit the impact of the crisis on the REAL ECONOMY.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wonders: “Are We Rome? You Betcha! The decline and fall of the American Empire echoes the experience of the Romans, who also tumbled into the trap of becoming overleveraged empire hussies.”. (“Hussie” is urban slang for not-for-profit prostitute, and ‘You betcha’ is typical of the sort of low mental class attempt at expression the knowledge deprived Palin cannot do without.)

For many years, the present author has been making in depth analyses of what went wrong with Rome, in parallel with the dismal devolution of the USA. “Overleverage” was never the problem of Rome. If anything, Rome declined because of drastic underleverage (the citizens of Rome and its region were increasingly prevented from taking part in the empire Rome had founded, precisely because their leverage was feared; in the end, to reduce Roman leverage to the max, Constantine displaced the capital to Byzantium, renaming it after himself).

Overleverage is a US problem though. US plutocracy found that the overuse of credit was a handy way to transform the land of the Free into the land of the Serf, and the Served.

Verily, Rome’s problem was pure plutocracy. Rome became so plutocratic, she lost her mind, kept it together for a while thanks to ever higher usage of fascism, before succumbing to the facility of religious terror, and flying apart from her own contradictions.

***

“RICH-POWER”, THAT IS PLUTOCRACY, DROWNED ROME INTO STUPIDITY, FASCISM, AND, ULTIMATELY, CHRISTIAN MADNESS:

The grossest examination of Roman history shows that Imperial Rome had bouts of seriously crazy dictatorships, and died from it. The situation became desperate only when Christianity established a symbiosis with the fascist rulers of Fourth century Rome, starting with Constantine and those younger sons of his he did not have the time to kill. The Christian obsessed fascists destroyed civilization first. Rome “fell” way later. Ninety-eight years separate the taking of Rome by Constantine (312 CE), the self proclaimed “Thirteenth Apostle”, from the transient capture of Rome by the Visigoth King Alaric (410 CE).

Accordingly, the British scholar Gibbon proposed that the “Decline and fall of Rome” had been mostly caused by the Christian theocratic phase of Rome. Modern secular people would no doubt agree to this.  Basically if one was not a “Catholic Orthodox Christian” in late fourth century Rome, one was considered somebody having exercised choice (= “heretic”) and one was executed, preferably burned, as Saint Paul recommended, or one was a Jew, and one should have been killed. In Fourth century Rome, THINKING WAS HERESY, BY DEFINITION, and the destruction of the world in the Apocalypse (here and now) would bring Jesus back. Roman authority reached a degree of insanity that even the craziest contemporary Muslim Jihadists do not approach, however hard they try. Finally, in the “Occidental Part” of Rome, the (plutocratic) bishops became the government, increasing the bloody mess some more. Civilization stabilized only when Christian leadership was by the Germanic military (Visigoths (Spain), Ostrogoths (Italy)). In Gaul, the Franks not only came to power, but they were the OFFICIAL ROMAN ARMY (the franks were not just federates, as the other Germans, but “Rome” itself; that’s why emperor Justinian did not attack them during his reconquista of the Fifth century).

Many other causes have also been proposed for the decline and fall of Rome. All are true to some extent, but most are direct consequences of just one fundamental reason, though, unique, drastic and clearly anterior to all others. Indeed it is clear that something was very wrong with Rome for very long. The crazed Christian dictatorship was preceded by five centuries of increasing fascism. So why did Rome become ever more fascist?.

Rome degenerated because of the corruption of the Res Publica by the hyper rich. THE RISE OF A CORRUPT PLUTOCRACY IN ROME CAN BE DATED PRECISELY TO THE “WAR AGAINST HANNIBAL” (the Second Punic War). Many WAR PROFITEERS thrived during and after that war, all the more since the losses of the traditional Roman aristocracy had been enormous (Just in one day at the battle of Cannae, one of several major battles the Romans lost to Hannibal, more than 80 Senators died, plus one consul and up to 70,000 citizens). This confluence of factors led to a particularly corrupt plutocracy, then to wars of choice, especially against democracies, confiscation of the republic by the hyper rich, and soon civil war and full blown fascism.

In the following centuries, the resulting intellectual fascism made Rome superficially scholarly, but truly increasingly stupid, until the teetering Roman dictators allied themselves to Christianity. Christianity justified, even divinized, the rule of Constantine and his family, and declared “war on the philosophers”, burning the libraries, killing the intellectuals, and every body else who was not Christian, except the Jews, that they did not succeed to quite exterminate (surviving intellectuals and Jews, clutching their books, fled to Persia the capital of which was next to present day Baghdad).

***

 

NAZISM DID FOR THE U.S. PLUTOCRACY WHAT HANNIBAL DID TO ROMAN PLUTOCRACY:

A particularly opportunistic part of Roman plutocracy was able to leverage the Second Punic War, and Nazism played a similar role for a large part of US plutocracy (a lot of the rest of the plutocracy profited indirectly from the establishment of the American empire on the ruins of the European one).  This part of the plutocratic logic is very similar with Rome or the US.

But there are, of course, differences. The “war against Hannibal”, as the Romans called it, was a succession of tremendous disasters for Rome, and lasted 17 years, most of them spent with Hannibal rampaging or sitting around Italy. The old aristocracy got killed, and so did the old republican spirit, and so did the People’s spirit. The People got ruined by paying rent to the Rich inside the fortified cities, as their farms were going to the birds.

The modern equivalent of Carthage and its human sacrifices was Hitler’s Third Reich. Whereas Rome had not created Carthage, which was a full blown Semitic civilization standing on its own merits, NAZISM COULD WELL BE VIEWED AS THE SECRET BASTARD FASCISM AND WALL STREET HAD TOGETHER.

It’s indeed reasonable to view Hitler’s Reich as partly coming out of Wall Street. The facts are undeniable. If one had removed from the Nazi army all the weapons and technology of US origin, in May 1940, the French army would have crushed the Nazi army in a few days.

Due to the enormous contribution of hundreds of large US corporations, France was literally facing an Americano-Nazi army. From armor, to magnesium fire bombs, to computers, to automatic pilots, to superiority fighters’ engines, to anti knock chemical additives, to synthetic fuel and synthetic rubber, the most crucial part of the Nazi war machine that was plastered by the Swastika, originated not in Berlin or in the Ruhr, or anywhere in Germany. It just looked that way to the naive. In truth all this wonderful equipment and technology originated in the USA, and, particularly, in Wall Street. It had been transferred through direct investments, and many secret protocols. 

Those who don’t believe any of this are invited to read the book whose title says it all: “IBM and the Holocaust”. IBM was THE Nazi computer company, it had the monopoly of computing in the Third Reich, given by Adolf Hitler himself, and IBM was administered from New York, throughout the war. None of its 35 factories in Germany was damaged by allied bombings, because allied pilots were given strict orders to avoid American property.

Even more, unbelievably, many of the most important corporations that supported Hitler and helped his reign were indeed creations of Wall Street. Some were German, some were American, some were Americano-German, some even masqueraded as Dutch. Wall Street created IG Farben, and many other pro and proto Nazi organizations in the nineteen twenties. People of course do not remember what IG Farben was. It is not taught. But then people remember “The Holocaust”, and they whine. It’s like remembering an effect, and remembering to whine, but not its cause, and forgetting to do something about it. IG Farben was a super monopoly of all German chemical companies that was organized to secretly cooperated with the American oil companies (so as to turn around anti monopoly laws by going Nazi). It was like that, all over. Many of the involved companies changed their names, so they can claim they are not the same. For example Standard Oil became Exxon. others were more brazen: IBM, Hitler’s crucial pillar, kept its name. Better: the Bush dynasty got to the US presidency. Unbelievably, Prescott Bush had been one of Hitler’s most important collaborators, by founding a crucial part of the Nazi military industrial complex. The Bush family fortune has Auschwitz blood all over, because the Bushes got very well paid for it.

In both the case of Rome and the case of the USA, the plutocracy was allowed to grow undisturbed, and to control the republic. In the case of Rome the Gracchi brothers denounced the plutocracy early on, but they were assassinated (and their thousands of supporters killed too). Amazingly, in the USA nobody got disturbed for having helped and created the enemy (Nazism). The class that did this, instead, became ever more powerful. It is interesting to notice that Rome, when she got degenerated enough, had similar scandals of foreign undue influences (one with Jugurtha, one with Cleopatra).

***

 

A BIG DIFFERENCE: ROME WAS UNIQUE, BUT THE USA IS COMMON.

Being a democratic republic made Rome hyper powerful. All the more because Rome was the one and only powerful republic in the entire world. Rome had PEOPLE POWER (DEMOCRACY). More exactly, and less perfectly, power was exerted in the name of the “People” and the “Senate”. That huge power made Rome soon able to subdue all her fascist and/or tyrannical enemies (Carthage, the Hellenistic Kingdoms, Macedonia, Jugurtha, Mithridates VI of Pontus, Egypt) and also the Germano-Celtic proto states (more democratic, but also more primitive).

As the establishment of the empire proceeded, although Rome herself was veering into fascism, the turn was slow and incomplete (after all the Senate of Rome stayed a force until his head, the philosopher Boetius, was executed in the sixth century (524 CE)!). Officially the Roman republic was still going on. Indeed, the law kept on progressing for the best.

Differently from Rome, which was the only large republic and democracy in the entire world in 216 BCE, nowadays the USA is just one big republic among many others. Rome was a unique model, as she rolled all over. The democratic Greek city states were then small and weak, and Rome crushed them as if they were bugs. Rome was left unique and resplendent, basking in her self glory. But it’s not so nowadays: the democratic model has spread worldwide.

One can argue that the return of democracy and republic started in the Middle Ages, as soon as the franks cracked down on the Christian church, imposed women as heads of states, and outlawed slavery. Soon the Duke of Normandy made a direct pact with the People in Britain (1066 CE). Then the Frankish aristocracy in Britain extracted guarantees from the crown (13 c.). On top of that the rise of republics in Italy and in the Alps or even Novgorod was irresistible. By the sixteenth century, the very absolutist French crown fought for decades to help impose a republic (!) in the Netherlands. In modern times it became clear that Britain, France and the USA were so successful as major powers because of having the most advanced legal systems and democracies. The democratic ideal became the power ideal it is in truth by definition.

***

 

WHY THE AMERICAN IDENTITY CRISIS COULD BE CONTAINED THIS TIME:

Because it is an identity crisis: do you want to be a plutocracy, or do you want to be a democracy? Pushed to extremes, they are mutually exclusive. Power of money versus power of people. Pluto versus The Demos. It’s “We The People” as the very first three words of U.S, constitutional documents, though, so “conservatives” should conserve that. The People. Instead of uppity plutocrats. 

We are in the philosophical mainstream here: Plato had already considered the subject, and proposed a cap of seven times between lowest and highest incomes. Indeed Athens, differently from Rome, was not a plutocracy, when at her apogee. (She had been earlier a draconian plutocracy, until Solon’s reforms.) Athens committed other mistakes, though (some recently exquisitely replicated by the Bushmen, who do not seem to know a grotesque error they don’t like).

The Great Depression was greatly caused by the Smoot-Hawley US Senate bill (proposed in 1929, passed in 1930), a sad attempt to make American trading partners pay for an American bubble. The Europeans retaliated in kind. Each country went its way. France and Germany complained that the USA and Britain had caused the bubble deliberately, and did not want to reflate. The USA could not reflate, anyway, because the Federal Reserve was under instructions to let banks die.

If that -letting banks die- reminds you of republican policies in the last few weeks, don’t be surprised: the republicans are stuck in their own time warp (presidential candidate McCain seriously quoted republican president Hoover’s unfortunate “the fundamental of the US economy are strong”!). In the end it became a disaster; Germany became Nazi, and soon turned into the new Eldorado for British and American financiers. France sulked, and armed herself to the hilt, preparing the unavoidable.

Hopefully this time no one will try to extract a national advantage. The present crisis was greatly caused by the non globalization of regularization in a globalized trading world. All serious people know this. So the solution is to set these regulations up, after transient nationalizations allowing to recapitalize and clean out the old managements.

Rome was not a direct colony of Greece, although it learned everything from the Etruscans (who had been around the Mediterranean), and the Greeks, it had originated as a republic of local peasants lost in the woods. When Rome became hyperpowerful and she invaded Greece, fascist Macedonia ruled over most of it. Ungrateful plutocratic Rome subjected the Greek republican city states as soon as possible, although Athens had been a fighting ally by the Roman side against Macedonia. To make an example, Rome even massacred the republic of Corinth, that it found too “socialist”. Plutocracies hate socialism, and this goes a long way to explain the rabid hostility of the US plutocracy against France. When US plutocrats were busy propping up Hitler, arming him to the hilt, the French socialist PM, Leon Blum, a Jew, was busy inventing new ways such as paid vacations, now a worldwide fact enshrined in law, even in the USA. American hostility towards France and socialism goes a long way to explain why France did not attack Hitler in 1936. France was not interested by fighting the USA, as she did de facto, in 1940 (plus the Soviet Union, which was helping Hitler at the time, with fuel and other commodities). As soon as it appeared, Washington recognized the unconstitutional Vichy regime (something Churchill of course never did).

This time is different. Hopefully the People of the world has learned some from the Wall Street-Soviet-Nazi circus of the twenties and thirties.

Because a circus it really was. Imagine. In 1937 the USA had found France to be “belligerent” (for opposing Hitler), and applied sanctions. In 1939, Hitler and Stalin became allies, the later sending all supplies needed. Meanwhile Hitler ran out of fuel additives during the battle against Poland and France, and America rushed them in, so that Hitler’s lethal air force could keep on flying (with its Ford engines!), fighting Poland and France. De facto, until she fell in June 1940, France was at war against Germany, America, and the USSR, all at once. For years the USA would deny Hitler was genocidal, and refused to accept German refugees, so France fell with hundreds of thousands of them inside (and the Nazis killed many).

As far as the USA degenerating as much as Rome did, this is unlikely. The USA originated as a European colony, and so did Russia. They are basically sub-Europes. Whereas Rome admired, but was alien to Greece. Moreover, Rome deliberately attacked Greek democracies, here and there, it was a pattern. The USA has never attacked a European democracy (and reciprocally).

The underlying theories of both the USA and Russia were invented in Europe, making war impossible from lack of philosophical conflict. To have a conflict, one needs huge philosophical differences. The American civil war was about a huge philosophical difference, namely whether the Frankish constitution of the seventh century against slavery should be applied. The wars between Germany and France, or between Athens and Persia were based on the huge difference between republicanism and fascism. The American hand into Nazism was hidden, and the work of the same mentality that spawned the present world financial crisis (hopefully they are going to be exposed this time!).

The European Union, a union of democratic republics, has achieved unity (as its name indicates) and democracy, something the 200 silly Greek City states never achieved (Athens tried to impose unity by force, under its claws, and that backfired). The EU is actually greater and stronger than the USA in many important ways (nearly twice the population, and much more cultural variety, for example). Europe is powerful, and the USA could never invade it. So, hopefully, this flurry of thriving democratic republics will be able to restrain the international plutocracy that caused the present crisis, and the descent into fascism will be exposed and inverted. 

***

 

TIME TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THE USA IS ON THE PLUTOCRATIC ROAD TO HELL:

Paulson, a plutocrat, presented a hare brained plan to save the US “economy” by sending even more of the People’s money to the worst operators on Wall Street. With this impudent way anti-intellectuals have, it was called a “rescue plan”, and Congress passed it. Never mind that it was to save the plutocracy. Never mind that the “rescue” grossly violated the US Constitution, and that of any decent republic. Never mind that it was going to be grossly ineffective to do what it claimed it wanted to do. 

All what mattered is that the hyper rich had just lost huge assets, and the People had to replenish them. Because this is a plutocracy, you know, and, without the hyper rich, nobody would be at the helm, and the ship of the plutocratic state would be lost, you know, and life, admiring the hyper rich, you know, that’s what it’s all about in the USA. The USA would not know what to do without grand father Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, to reassure them. Children at heart and mind, you know, those Americans.

Fortunately, this time, Europe is all united. No fascism in sight. No Stalin in sight. No powerful fascist mentality in Central or Eastern Europe. Actually Europe has become the big democratic union that the best impulses of the French revolution had promised. Maybe it’s finally time to do some accounting with wall Street, starting with IG Farben and the Hamburg Amerika Line, and all those who were really behind Hitler and Nazism all these years. Time to come clean. 

All the power of the plutocracy has rested on secrecy. The famous “hidden hand” plutocrats glorify in.  It’s true for financial derivatives, but Nazism and Muslim Fundamentalism were also derivatives of “Wall Street” and the entangled US government American plutocrats leveraged them. Denial went a long way, and American public opinion was made uncurious enough to live by it.

Ultimately, democracy is more powerful than plutocracy, and it requires transparency. It’s the end of American violence and the American hidden hand. Let’s just pray that it will not die hard as Prussiano-Christian fascism did.

Prussia was fascist, per its somewhat colonial construction, and Christianity invented rabid anti-Judaism and murderous hatred of non Christians. The combination was unsurprisingly murderous. As Saint Louis of France put it:” … a layman, whenever he hears the Christian religion abused, should not attempt to defend its tenets, except with its sword, and that he should thrust in the scoundrel’s belly, and as far as it will entered”. That was in the context of a symposium at Cluny with Jews, where a Christian knight had attacked Jews.  With Saints like Saint Louis, no wonder we got Hitler.

And now we have the USA, with its brand new “In God We Trust” (totally unconstitutional, from 1954, a prelude to Palindism). In truth, Saint Louis invented a mentality that was incarnated by Hitler (Saint Louis was constitutionally barred to exterminate the non Christians, Hitler was not, especially since he used secrecy). Louis’ hatred went down the ages, and was revered: Luther was nearly as vicious about Jews and others as Saint Louis.

“In God we Trust” is an attempt to bring back the Christian fascism of Constantine and company. And, same as Constantine, it’s not because the goons believe Jesus will come flying around any time soon, but because it will bring back fascism, and its accompanying stupefying stupidity, Constantine’s true practice.

Nietzsche saw  the Prussiano-Christian fascist catastrophe come from far away, and criticized that incipient criminal mentality as shrilly as he could. He was not understood and followed enough in Germany to prevent WWI and Nazism (Nietzsche was much more understood in France). What we have now in the USA is somewhat similar. The entire sub prime plot was an aggression onto the world, based on grotesque lies. Even the exaggerated fall of the dollar was attempt to game the world trading system in favor of the USA. Before that there was Iraq, and the so called “American century”, from Hitler to Stalin to bin Laden. All of them puppets on US strings (Stalin got enormous help from the USA in all sorts of way, from the development of Caucasus oil to all of Eastern Europe).

It’s hard to go from number one to realizing one just made a stupid number. But that’s where the US population is at. It has been played by its own plutocracy like a violin. Time to reinstate intelligence, or plutocracy and stupidity will roll all over.

Make no mistake: if the USA keeps on being a compliant toy of its plutocracy, Europe, and the rest of the world, will not wait as Greece did, and roll over when the modern equivalent of Roman fascism comes over. In Europe, and probably many other places in this connected world, many people know how to read history, and they don’t intend to see it repeated. International harmony requires the timely restraining of global plutocracy, especially in light of its US origin, and its long list of the worst crimes, and this is as good an occasion as there ever will be to crack down on it.

*** 

Patrice Ayme
Patriceayme.com

FROM RUSSIA WITH WISDOM.

October 9, 2008

THE RUSSIAN CONFLICT WITH GEORGIA: A GOOD PLACE TO LEARN TO RESIST THE NATIONALIST IMPULSE.

Introduction: Russia has followed her better instincts, for a change. Under the watchful gaze of EU observers, including cute French gendarmes in their blue uniforms, Russia has just evacuated Georgia 48 hours early. Russia also came to the (financial) rescue of Iceland. All this should be inspirational.

Motivation for the considerations below: Nationalism is very bad, it should be crushed; otherwise, civilization may be the one getting crushed. The nationalist impulse was used by some very bad people throughout history. The poorly conducted, poorly justified invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration is a case in point.

By the way, in the case of Afghanistan, the nationalist impulse from the West to go out and kill people there, although legitimate as pure defense, transiently, has become the only politics of the West there, many years later, still, and de facto, right now, that is VERY wrong. So very wrong that it deserves to fail… as fate will insist. 

The West is arguably way less reasonable at this point in Afghanistan than Russia is with Georgia. It is high time to reconsider Afghanistan in a much more supple mental way.

Now, perniciously, some in the West have called Russian nationalism justified. The (outrageous!) claim is that Russian nationalism should be rightly worried by the angry small countries on Russia’s borders, little more than mice to the Russian elephant. But from our point of view, nationalism in any shape or form, except purely spiritually, and even then, is not justified.

Interestingly, Russian leaders, after two harrowing months in Georgia, seem to have understood this. The mice around Russia should understand it too (there are indications some do now, even the Georgian president, who, perhaps misled by his very large physique, seemed under the illusion that he was somehow towering over Putin, an illusion hopefully thoroughly dispelled by now).

Neither NATO nor the EU have to be adversarial processes to Russia. Far from it. In truth, and in the long view, it’s just the opposite. Hopefully, Putin and Medvedev may be understanding this now. That would be wonderful. But it is far from clear. And what is a country where all depends upon one guy? A Putinocracy? 

***

Helping Russia and the world means restraining Russian nationalism, at every occasion one gets. Actually, one should restrain nationalism every chance one gets, worldwide. (This applies particularly to the world financial credit crisis presently unfolding; see the P/S below; if nationalism gets involved in it, outright war could be a consequence.)

Russia became, ever since the fall of the wall, an example of the modern restraints that have been put on nationalism. Russian leaders, emulating the leadership of Gorbachev, have made great efforts to dominate their nationalist impulses. Since those impulses had run wild under the Soviet tyrants, thus helping to impose a terrible fascism inside the USSR, it is not helpful to be too respectful  nowadays of those very nationalistic impulses that have caused so much pain to Russia.

Roger Cohen, in the Herald Tribune (October 9, 2008) said that Zapatero, the Spanish PM, sounded all too respectful of a harassed and worried Russian nationalism legitimately confronting Georgia, NATO, and other adversaries. This is wrong, said Mr. Cohen, and he is very right to say so.

Respecting Russia’s worst nightmares, and establishing policy to encourage them, is not friendly to Russia, or to anybody else. Ideally, Georgia, NATO, the EU, and all states surrounding Russia should be collaborators, and irreplaceable friends. To establish a context where, at the outset, it’s taken for granted that they are enemies, and have to be enemies, is not just erroneous, but extremely wrong morally, on the largest possible scale.  

Putin, a top judoka, should use the very momentum of those among his interlocutors who are adversarial, to place Russia in a better position, in the fullness of time. If some people with an anti Russian agenda think they can bog down Russia with NATO, well, let see what would happen if and when Russia joins NATO (France, for one, would be delighted to get some help from the Russian soul, sometimes).

In general, nationalism should indeed be respected inasmuch as it should be understood enough to be dismantled thoroughly. One of the secrets of the Roman state, or the empire of the Franks that succeeded it, has been to have risen as (non nationalistic) melting pots. Modern France, Britain and the USA have followed that time honored recipe.

All nationalisms, worldwide, have their good aspects, of course, and some of these aspects could be, and have been, exported to other countries’ delight (Judo is an examplary export from Japan). But the negative sides of nationalism should not be tolerated, and there are more of those. Nations are giant tribes, and their fundamental role is predatory: there was only so much land to go around, and culling human populations was a necessity. This positive contribution of holocausts has been found increasingly counter productive . Clearly wars, overall, in the last two centuries, did not improve France, and were a disaster for Russia, more recently. Both countries (and Poland too) have suffered enormous population deficits. Wars have these little ways of starting, and then never stop.

In the case of Georgia, Putin himself offered a sort of mix of an excuse and an explanation by suggesting that Russia had some trouble in the North Caucasus, and, we have to guess, needed to go around screaming and break something in South Caucasus, like a dominant chimp has to break something, drag a branch, when it wants peace to be respected, looking forward.

Russia is, by far, the largest country on Earth. That immensity is a great wealth, a great treasure, profiting only a small fraction of the population of greater Europe. Fundamentally, Russia is a European colony, just as the USA also is. Neither is a creation from God, sprung from Jupiter’s thigh. It’s time to re-embrace the European cultural basics, and review their deepest truths. Because those truths are the cultural roots of Russia (or the USA). Those which proved so profitable…

Both the USA and Russia have walked along similar psychological pathways. Both Russia and the USA conquered vast spaces by pushing against sparse tribes with primitive technology. Both became affected with hubris in recent times, much confusing their luck with their due, and their European inheritance with savagery. The savagery was a bit more subtle on the US side, and the Russian fascism was justified by the moral of survival, since German fascism was intend to win a final showdown with France and Russia (the deep cause of W.W.I). In any case, Russia enjoyed Lenino-Stalinist fascism, that, in combination with Hitlerism, made Russia’s present population not even half of what it would have been otherwise. Meanwhile, the USA used various devious schemes surfing other people’s fascist tendencies to advance its empire (from the creation of IG Farben by Wall Street, and helping Hitler, all the way to using crazy Muslim Fundamentalists and invading Iraq, on the other side). What has been, was, but it’s time to change methods (Weapons of Mass Destruction leave us no choice).

Going back to the origins, namely the Enlightenments, should be the guiding light. After all, deep down, both Russia and the USA got their power from there. And not just going back to the Enlightenment of three centuries ago. The original Enlightenment was of course with the Franks, who outlawed slavery, centuries before the first stirrings of Russia lurked deep in the woods.

Sometimes, it seems the light of the Enlightenment still has to reach Russia (the USA has been equally challenged that way). Conquest proved more profitable than understanding. All too often, Russian dictators forgot to outlaw slavery (“serfdom”). During the twentieth century, Russian fascist (“totalitarian”) leaders enslaved hundreds of millions of people, submitting entire nations on the periphery of the Tsarist empire.

It’s high time to cease and desist with the systems of thought that were compatible with slavery. Old style Russian “nationalism” often viewed slavery more of a solution rather than concertation. That may be a great way to build an empire, using Cossaks, but less so when the opposition can build nuclear weapons in the heart of mountains. Those who want to respect Russian “nationalism” want Russia to survive, and Russia will only do so by adopting the only pathway out, namely replacing old fashion wars with debates of ideas, until the victory of the best ones (this is basically the constructing principle of the European Union).

So the following ideas should guide Russia and others:

First, nationalism has caused many wars, especially when it is interpreted as a right on other countries or populations. Many of the biggest European countries also had to learn lesson number one of modern European history: military based nationalism is a terrible crime. Doing without it has brought immense prosperity to Western Europe.

Second, to abandon nationalism, Russia has to join the European Union, an international system of thought based on the imperialism of debate, not the imperialism of tanks. No worry, it will not happen in five minutes.

Third, China used to own some of the Vladivostok area, where 7 million Russians face 120 million Chinese, in close quarters. The area is full of resources, and, differently from much of China, it is not too mountainous, or too much of a desert. If China veered away from its pathway to democracy, it could try to recover the area by force, something it would be much less inclined to do if Russia were part of the EU. The EU is also a defensive solution for Russia (and, ultimately, for the world at large!)

Fourth, to develop gigantic Russia, all the resources of the rest of Europe and its colonies will not be too much, and Russia will be the first to profit from it.

Thankfully, the Russian leadership has operated a 180 degree turn since their ill considered Georgian invasion. Russia withdrew from where they clearly should not have been, has cooperated with EU peacekeeping, and came to the financial rescue of Iceland. It’s all very good. In a European Union set up, problems such as Abkazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo can’t exist, because the EU was made, first of all, to dissolve nationalism and tribalism.

It’s high time for Europe, its colonies, and its sympathizers (all the most important countries of the planet) to refurbish the Enlightenment. It will not happen without Russia (or the USA). There is too much to do, and replacing the Will to War by the Will to Debate is too fragile as yet. one single powerful nation could sabotage the whole thing, and bring back the dogs of war.

It’s more important than ever, especially as the poorly conceived world financial system has melted down, to remember that we are all on the same boat together, it’s called Earth, and going crazy will only insure that we all sink together.

*** 

Patrice Ayme.

***

P/S: The Great Depression of the nineteen thirties started because some Senators in the USA decided to be smart by declaring economic war to the world to solve a bubble that had been deliberately engaged in by the US government and the US Federal Reserve (in part for the international reason of trying to reflate Britain!). Then it was aggravated because the US government re-established internal discipline, too late and too badly. While trying to make off the foreigners.

The result was an economic and financial conflict in which every one went its own way (there is a bit of this so far). It quickly led to that other excess of Wall Street, Adolf Hitler his name, getting power, and the rest is history. Although Russia suffered enormous losses, and the USA got handsomely out of it, there is every reason to believe it will not be so next time.  Discipline and anti-nationalism should be maintained at this late hour, whatever it takes. So far, so half good. In that sense it’s great that Russia re-integrated the fold. Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, points out that there are NO national solutions. “Il faut un plan global, coordonne'” (“One needs a global coordinated plan”). Strauss-Kahn insists, and he is right, that one needs more, and more powerful, international institutions. No future for nationalism.

DO AS YOU OUGHT, NOT AS YOU FEEL.

October 5, 2008

 

ELECTING OBAMA: AN OPPORTUNITY TO LESSEN RACISM, TRIBALISM AND HATRED, WORLDWIDE. BUT WHITE AMERICAN VOTERS SHOULD REMEMBER THAT, ALTHOUGH HIS SKIN IS BROWN, THEIR HEARTS ARE BLACK.

Studies have shown that people who do not think of themselves as racist still behave as racists would. Some scholars have dubbed this “racism without racists” (see the P/S for a description of some of the flawed behaviors). Well, we beg to slightly disagree. Racism is racism, even if it’s just emotional.

Most US citizens are indeed not logical racist; they have come to the conclusion that only fools and bad people believe there is something intrinsically repugnant enough about people of different appearance to deprive them of some human rights.

But that does not mean that most US citizens are not intrinsically emotionally put off by the apparition of someone not like them, of a type they never had particularly positive experiences with. Maybe they are not personally at fault, but it’s not because it’s unconscious, and not deliberate that it is not here.

Unfortunately, indeed, there are three main types of racism, and emotional racism is one of them. One cannot legislate against it, though. If one wants to fight it, one can only vote for the “colored” person (if as obviously as qualified as Obama is, especially in light of his pale alternative… Or is that appalling?).

Racism is fundamentally an emotional response. When the object of love, right from the start, from a baby’s eyes is white, not brown or black, it’s hard to not be scared by the apparition of color. So it’s harder to love somebody of a different skin color, without a reconditioning on a logical basis, or through re-imprinting.

Then there is purely intellectual racism, often built as a justification of some hatred one has. Or one’s society has. Or has had. The Nazis used to believe the blacks and the Jews were inferior; in the former case, that was facilitated by the presence of fighting black and African professional elite combat troops enlisted in the hated French army. The hatred was reciprocal: during W.W.I, no prisoners on either sides were made during offensives by French Senegalese troops. The racist logic can arise as an emotional response to varied events: for example Hitler as a bum in Vienna felt doubly alienated and hateful when he saw rich Jews overlording him. The esthetically challenged Goebbels courted extensively a beautiful Jewish girl who in the end rejected him, etc. To Hitler and Goebbels all this could be explained, in one glorifying blow, by the intrinsic inferiority of the Jews, and the obvious conspiracy they had set up to compensate for that.

Then there is legal and political racism. Sorry to say this, but, to a great extent, it was an American Anglo-Saxon invention. True, the Germans became racist, but they were mostly tagging along. They thought the USA was so great, that white American racism, the most obvious distinguishing factor from Europe, explained it all. Of course legal and political racism reinforced the two more fundamental forms of racism above. 

Legal and political racism is now history in the USA. The USA has made a tremendous effort (“affirmative action” was even over the top!) to fight racism. But the fact is, many US citizens, or their parents were brought up in an amazingly racist society. Something racist is still up polluting heavily the emotional atmosphere (as proven by the incredibly racist pronouncements of J. Watson: he feels safe uttering them in the USA, but he was immediately driven out of Europe as he tried his luck there, and took refuge in his more racistically tolerant homeland!).

So most US citizens are not conditioned to perceive blacks and browns as objects of love, desire and admiration. In the secret of the voting booth, it will be hard for them to make a conscious effort to overwhelm their primitive emotional response with a conscious, non racist logic. Fortunately the presidential and good looking Obama presents us with an excellent occasion to help them make history. So they will have to remember that, even if they tell everybody, including themselves, that they are not racist, they still are, deep down inside, and that it colors their opinion of Obama negatively, whether they like it or not, whether they perceive it, or not (since around 90% of US citizens are not African-Americans).

Making this history, full of hope, they will create a model of inspiring brownness for the whole world to see. This should help a lot, because tribalism is a worldwide problem. To see that the chief of the most powerful democracy has been chosen, independently of his genetic origins, should be a stake in the heart of emotional racism, and rampant tribalism, worldwide.

As a result, fewer nuclear weapons may be needed to feel safe and less hateful, looking forward.
***

Patrice Ayme
Patriceayme.wordpress.com

P/S 1: As Kristof, New York Times, October 4, 2008, observes: “White participants recommend hiring a white applicant with borderline qualifications 76 percent of the time, while recommending an identically qualified black applicant only 45 percent of the time… a huge array of research suggests that 50 percent or more of whites have unconscious biases that sometimes lead to racial discrimination. (Blacks have their own unconscious biases, surprisingly often against blacks as well.) One set of experiments conducted since the 1970s involves subjects who believe that they are witnessing an emergency (like an epileptic seizure). When there is no other witness, a white bystander will call for help whether the victim is white or black, and there is very little discrimination. But when there are other bystanders, so the individual responsibility to summon help may feel less obvious, whites will still summon help 75 percent of the time if the victim is white but only 38 percent of the time if the victim is black.”

P/S 2: For J. Watson, a co-discoverer of the double helix model of DNA (from X rays studies of Rosalyn Franklin), there is no doubt that Africans are genetic idiots. Differently from the Nazis, who thought they had the proof that Jews, Africans, Slavs, Gypsies, etc… were so inferior that they polluted the superior race, Watson believes the proof lies in future genetics. Thus, he does not have the proof: it’s coming in a future imagination near him, but that’s good enough for him to be sure. In other words, of his own admission, he is a frantic emotional racist, whose logic got lost in the sands of alienation.

THE QUR’AN HATES DEMOCRACY.

October 2, 2008

WHY AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, IRAN AND OTHER ISLAMIC REGIMES ARE FUNDAMENTALLY HOSTILE TO THE WEST.

Pakistan has a new “President”, Benazir Bhutto’s widower. Afghanistan has a “President” too. But what does that mean? During the Roman empire, for centuries, citizens could embrace whatever religion they pleased (before the rather short lived Christian dictatorship). In today’s Afghanistan the “law” has it that if a “Muslim” becomes a “Christian”, he shall be executed. What happened to civilization? Is it supposed to be going backwards? Are Western powers helping those vicious superstitions, and thus undermining themselves?

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic (since 1956, reviewed in 1973). This causes an insurmountable problem because Islam is not compatible with democracy. Although Benazir and her husband seem noble and extremely courageous, the task they gave themselves is hopeless. Islam was designed as a war machine against the West. That is why it succeeded, and only ultimate force stopped it (in Francia in the West).

Benazir Bhutto, in her posthumous book, “Reconciliation” observes that “a discussion of Jihad is critical to the world“. She presents what she calls a “thesis”, that “democracy and Islam are compatible“. But she admits that this is true only if Jihad is not “about religious war against other religions and Muslim sects“. But she is not sure. Maybe, maybe not. Hope is her only logic. And hope is not a logic, just wishful thinking.

Whatever. What part of the word “Jihad” did Benazir not understand? During that last bomb explosion, that killed her, did she see the light? The blazing light? Well, we sure saw it on TV. Islam is strictly not compatible with democracy, and I will show this below, quoting from the highest authority in Islam, namely the message of Allah Himself, the “Recitation” (Qur’an). Those who deny this are either ignorant, or liars, or both. Those who believe ignorant liars come, unsurprisingly, to bad ends.

Muslim fundamentalists have (correctly) counted nearly 200 passages containing calls to extreme murderous violence in the Qur’an. The Fundamentalists know best: they use those precise passages to justify their own murderous violence, including killing little girls that go to school, and women who go to work. Threatening to kill those who insulted “the prophet” is a particularly appreciated delicacy.

But the violence of the Qur’an against Western civilization is not restricted to calls for maximum and lethal physical violence. First, there is the fact that “Jihad” replaces all and any of the activities connected to democracy. Islam is about one man, one jihad, not one man, one vote. Moreover the Qur’an is full of statements such as: “And those who disbelieve in our communications, they are the people of the left hand. On them fire closes over.”  (S 90; v. 19-20). the left hand is used for the rest room, in the desert, you know. (Wash with dirt, recommends ‘the prophet”, always very practical!)

There is also a fundamental violence of the Qur’an against the very principle of democracy. The Qur’an enjoins that:

“O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and OBEY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN POWER.” (Qur’an’s fascist principle, S.4; v. 59).

In other words, Islam orders to obey authority as a matter of religion. Islam is a dictator’s best friend. Dictatorship and Islam live in symbiosis.

Hitler, who admired Islam as a war religion, used to call this the Fuehrerprinzip, and it was the central functioning principle of his Nazi Reich. All Germans had to obey any authority as a matter of religion. The fascist principle makes Islam incompatible with democracy. (Of course, the entire point of Islam is that dictatorship is religion, so it’s no accident!)

Some will say: “Wait a minute! What about Christianity? Europe is Christian, and still became democratic! Indeed, Islam is the bastard child of some type of Judaism and Christianism, marinated in a pungent desert sauce. And indeed the West became democratic. But the West had been democratic before (republican Rome, many Greek City states). Even at the worst of the Roman Christian Imperial theocracy (fourth and fifth centuries), the law was mostly secular, and its own power, independent of religion. Even at the top of the Roman Christian Imperial theocracy, a woman, an Augusta, reigned (fifth century). She invented the theory of the STATE OF LAW: “The law shall apply to us just as much as it applies to our subjects.”

When the Franks took control in the West, they did not establish a Christian dictatorship. Quite to the contrary, they progressively transformed Christianity in an instrument for the advancement of civilization. The Franks, as good Germans, were more democratic and less sexist than the Greco-Roman. As good Germans admiring Greco-Roman civilization, they were dismayed by what Christianity had done to it. All in all, the Franks imposed on Christianity much higher ethics. They forced the Christian establishments to teach secular knowledge.

Saint Augustine and his accomplices, the Founding fathers of the Church, had justified slavery as a punishment from God (as the Quranic parrots would later do). The Franks just outlawed slavery. By 800, the Pope was the Franks’ pet, and the Carolingians (who had crushed Islamic invasions earlier) took a great dislike of the Eastern Christian Roman empire. In 1204 the Franks conquered Constantinople, smashing for good the remaining Roman imperial Christian power. the anti Christian humor of the franks could be tasteless: during some crusade, a bit short of food, they made fun of Christ’s recommendation to eat (his) flesh, by actually eating some of the (Muslim) natives.

Even as dedicated a Christian as the formidable Roman emperor Justinian, when he ordered a refurbishment of the entire Roman legal system, nominated a pagan law professor to head the commission, and the emperor instructed him to separate the huge body of secular law from the laws of a Christian nature. That secular body of law the entire world use nowadays, except for the Islamic states.

The secret of the success of the West is not Christ, it’s the Pagan Franks masquerading as Christians (proof: when they smashed the three Muslim invasions of the eight century, the Franks, after having nationalized the Christian Church to draft the entire economy, called themselves “Europeans”; they viewed Muslims as a new Christian sect).

During the later Middle Ages, the Frankish empire was breaking down in national powers. A Christian fanatic such as (Saint) Louis IX, hated the Jews. Still he could not do much against them: centuries earlier Frankish law, following Roman secular law, had recognized Jews as full citizens. In the end the holocaust of the Jews had to wait for the replacement of secular Roman law by Nazi garbage.

In Pakistan, according to the Islamic Constitution, only a Muslim can become President or Prime Minister. No law repugnant to Islam shall be enacted and the present laws shall also be Islamized. Injunctions of Islam as found in Qur’an and the Sunnah have to be obeyed. The 1973 (and current) Constitution of Pakistan gave a definition of a Muslim which states: ‘Muslim’ means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Mohammed [PBUH: Peace Be Upon Him], the last of the prophets, and who does not believe in, nor recognize as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Mohammed.”

In other words, sheer superstition. Well, Poo Be Upon It [PBUI].

Islam has got a long way to go, before it can join Christianity, and be put to sleep…

The West may want to reconsider its attitude relative to all Islamic regimes, including “republics” such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Obama suggested this: next time bin Laden is in the crosshairs of the West, if Pakistan refuses to act, the West will; France, more directly, suggested that a French 9/11 may be rewarded with nukes for the host country.)

For a long time, Islamic dictatorships (a pleonasm, sorry) were the best friends of the oil thirsty USA. Oil was good, so dictatorships were good, so the dictatorship friendly Qur’an was good. Well, that was before Islamic Weapons of Mass Destruction. Now all these discourses about fire from the sky and holocausts, in the Qur’an, after 9/11, do not seem such a good idea anymore, even to the USA. It maybe time to encourage forced de-Islamization programs, somewhat similar to those implemented by the Franks against Christianity.

It’s better to put the Qur’an to sleep that way, rather than the alternative…
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Patrice Ayme
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P/S: Under the Hanafi jurisprudence of Afghanistan’s Sunni majority, favored by the Afghan Constitution, apostasy -abandoning Islam for another religion- is a crime punishable by death. it’s all about whether it’s the sovereignty of the people (democracy) or the sovereignty of God (a figment of the imagination and tradition of cavemen). It should not be tolerated anymore that Western soldiers die for this.

P/S 2: “In reality, the monotheist texts preach neither peace, love nor tolerance. They are texts of hate.” (Michel Houellebecq.)